A thorough respect for opinions, diversity, equality and justice are the main values governing Canada’s business environment. In a country influenced by so many tendencies – French, British and American – they still hold a set of respectable, nation-wide values, contouring their business etiquette.
- Primary contact: Before scheduling a face-to-face meeting, ensure that you create a primary contact through any digital channel in order to make the purpose of the request, clear. The most valued times for a meeting in Canada are Tuesday to Thursday, especially before noon.
- Punctuality: Punctuality is extremely valued in Canada – in fact, it is advised that you make an appearance at a professional meeting, five to ten minutes early.
- Greetings: In professional circumstances, greetings are defined by a firm handshake, followed by a personal and company introduction, in a few brief lines. When the business encounter involves a female participant, you can expect a double kiss on the cheek, no matter how advanced the business relationship is.
- Gifting: Gifting is not necessarily a usual practice in Canada, nor something they subtly request. However, traditional gifts from your own country should be greatly appreciated and furthermore, they can represent quite a useful ice-breaker.
- Dress-Code: Depending on the industry, the dress-code varies from highly formal to quite carelessly-informal. However, within the areas of work that expect a formal dress-code, it is expected that men wear suits and ties, while women elegant, non-revealing dresses.
- Business Cards: Business cards are usually exchanged at the beginning of the business meeting, gracefully. In the event of receiving a business card, it is advised that you take your time to study the piece for a moment. Furthermore, it would make a great impression if the business card could be translated into French on the other side.
- Business Meetings: Meetings in Canada tend to be quite formal, therefore the small talk is quite limited, the focus of the conversation being rather pointed towards the professional subject that needs to be discussed. You should limit humour as much as possible and keep a somewhat-constant eye contact in order to inspire trust and show respect. You should be smiling, open and discuss directly the reasoning for the meeting, making it as concise and straight to the point conversation.
In conclusion, Canadian business etiquette tends to be quite impersonal, yet incredibly productive especially through their elevated time-management techniques and a great ability to prioritize their career, as well as master the art of separating their personal and professional life in a highly harmonious manner.
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